Elderflower Cordial – Essential Summertime Drink

Mid to late spring is Elderflower season. These beautiful flowers make the most amazing cordial and it is very simple to make. Elderflowers are everywhere, once you know what you are looking for, you will spot the trees all the time. Usually growing along the roadside, near rivers and parks.

Foraged Elderflower

Before you head off to find Elderflowers it’s important to know that the Elderberry plant is poisonous. I don’t want to scare anyone away from making your own cordial but it’s something you should know, and something I wasn’t aware of until I had made my first ever batch last year and had to throw it out.

The leaves, stems and unripe berries of both red and black elderberry species contain cyanide-inducing glycosides which can cause a toxic buildup of cyanide in the body. When using elderflowers, be sure to remove them from all but that smallest stem attachments to keep these toxins out of your food.

When collecting Elderflower, collect the bright white and open flowers. If they are turning yellow or cream leave them on the tree as they are past their best and not something you want in your cordial.
The flowers on this flower head a nice and white. However, they still have unopened flowers. I would leave this flowerhead on the tree.

Once you have gathered your Elderflowers for your cordial you will need to take the flowers off the stems. the easiest way to do this is using your fingers or a fork and gently push the flowerhead into the bowl. See below.

Using a fork to remove the flowers from the stalks.

To make your cordial, you will need:

  • 1k sugar
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 3 medium lemons, washed
  • 30 large Elderflower heads
  • 55g citric acid
  • one large glass or ceramic bowl or jar
  • sterilised bottles

Preparing your cordial:

  1. Place the sugar into a large bowl or jar ( I have used a very large pickle jar). Pour the boiling water over the sugar and stir until all the sugar has dissolved, leave to cool.
  2. Peel the rind of the lemons with a peeler and add to the sugar water.
  3. Slice the lemons into thick slices and add to the sugar water. Add the citric acid and stir, then finally add the flower heads to the sugar water and stir again.
  4. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to steep for 48 hours. I usually give it a gentle stir after 24 hours and have a taste.

After 48 hours you are ready to bottle your cordial.

  1. Sterilise bottles in the oven or in a pot of boiling water
  2. Remove lemons from the cordial, strain the cordial through a clean fine muslin cloth into a clean bowl.
  3. Using a funnel, fill sterilized bottles, seal and store in a cool, dark place. Once opened keep in the refrigerator.

This cordial is delicious diluted with still or fizzy water.

The finished product, ready to drink or give away as a gift.

I hope you enjoy making your own Elderflower cordial.

Becks 🍹🍹

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